Take a holiday without spending a fortune with these helpful resources and insider tips.

Sri Lanka seems like an inexpensive country… and it can be… until you get there and hear the price asked for food at your hotel, local driver from place to place and must-do activities. Although Sri Lanka is still way cheaper than other Asian countries like Japan or China, life as a tourist, can very quickly get very expensive. Here are a few tips to make your stay affordable and more local-like.

WATCH THE FLIGHTS

One of the largest expenses of any trip is the initial cost of a plane ticket which can be hard to swallow. First thing is to choose an off-peak time to travel. Try not to travel during school holidays. Typically, the cheapest flights will be between May – July but if you do need to travel during school holidays or between December – March then watching flights is the best thing for you.  

Fortunately, a number of budget airlines, including AirAsia, Malaysian Airlines and others have routes to Sri Lanka. Budget airlines often advertise sales several months in advance, so sign up for email alerts to receive messages about possible deals.

EAT LOCAL

Local food is produced with seasonal goods, which local people know how to cook. Is it the mango season? That means markets are filled with tons of mangos and the price goes down, so eat mangos.

Eating at your hotel is rather expensive – like 8 times more expensive! Don’t miss out on the local flavours and delicious food. Either visit a lunch buffet (these usually offer large portions at lower prices) or make your way to a street food stall or cafe. These local restaurants/cafes/stalls serve cheap dishes like hoppers, roti, curries and short-eats at a fraction of restaurant prices. 

DRIVER, TRAIN, BUS, TUK TUK OR SELF-DRIVE

Personally, I wouldn’t self-drive. I consider myself a great driver but there is no way I would drive in Sri Lanka as I find it too stressful and then I can’t appreciate the countryside and sites.

Tuk-Tuks are, without a doubt, the best way to get from A to B when travelling small distances, like from your hotel to the restaurants or just around a city. Otherwise, if you choose to take a tuk-tuk on a longer drive from destination to destination then it will be uncomfortable and you will need to have little luggage.

Local buses and trains are a fantastic way to travel in Sri Lanka and are very cheap. This is definitely your cheapest option when traveling from destination to destination and the views can be breath-taking!

I love getting a driver when travelling Sri Lanka. They are knowledgeable, kind and will help you with everything from booking activities to showing you the best local places to eat. Yes, it is more expensive, however if you are moving from destination to destination regularly or you have kids with you, then I highly recommend getting a driver.

 

ACCOMMODATION

One of the most important aspects of budget travel is finding the right accommodation. Sri Lanka has plenty of price options when it comes to accommodation but to maximize value, look for free breakfast.

One of the things I love about Sri Lanka is the range of boutique villas, homely guesthouses and independent hotels that make your stay in Sri Lanka as wonderful as the sights you go to see.

Always look at different online booking sites such as Expedia, Booking.com and AirBnB. They will all have different hotels, villas etc on their websites but remember to make sure that all taxes are included. Accommodation providers in Sri Lanka love to add up to 28% taxes so when booking, confirm that it is the final price.

BARGIN BARGAIN BARGAIN

Bargaining is something which many Westerners find very uncomfortable. We are use to reading a price tag on something and deciding whether we can afford it/want to buy it. If we do we buy it, if we don’t we walk away.

In Sri Lanka it is not like that. Almost anything can be bargained, from bags, clothes, tuk-tuk rides, food, night in a hotel, and even postcards. The price the seller gives you is a starting point for negotiation.

You will almost never pay the local price for something, and I think that is fair enough. You are on holidays and probably come from a more expensive country, have more money etc., so I don’t think it is problematic to pay more than locals. However paying 5 times the price can feel like one has been fooled.

Don’t buy the first thing you see – I promise there will be more and you will be able to get a feel for what the ‘true’ price should be. Shop around, be fair and bargain.

 

Sri Lanka can be a cost-effective destination—even for the budget traveller. With a proper plan, you can make this captivating Asian country your next holiday destination, with money left to spare. Have a great trip!

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  • I wish I looked this graceful & amazing when trying to attempt this photo. 
Instead, I fall flat on my face 😂
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📸 Gorgeous photo @travelation__ 👏👏👏
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  • I book and manage lots and lots of Sri Lankan holidays each year ranging from honeymoons to family getaways. One of the most common questions I get is "should I/we pre-book our activities prior to traveling?"
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Personally, I don't pre-book our activities because I like to have a little freedom to change my mind or even better, meet a local that can give me a genuine insight into the activity & recommend exactly what I should do & when. 
Sri Lanka is great for this because the people are so friendly & accommodating. .
If possible, one activity you should pre-book are the train journeys. They sell out very quickly! .
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  • Balls of Deliciousness 😍
AKA. Fish Cutlets
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Deep fried Sri Lankan Fish Cutlets, a spicy, savory bite, perfect for any time of the day.
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I love these little balls & if you are a lover of cooking, go and Google the recipe. I promise you won't be disappointed. .
📸 @globetrottingfoodsteps .
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  • Is there much to say, except... "take me there!" 😍
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This is Jetwing Kaduruketha and it is located in the south of Sri Lanka, near Ella. .
This is a gorgeous eco-friendly hotel that is worth adding onto your itinerary 💚
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  • Stilt Fishing is one of the most interesting traditional fishing methods in Sri Lanka, and travellers love them 🎣
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The beautiful sight of fishermen perched on poles as they fish skillfully during dawn, noon and dusk, can now be seen along the southern coast in towns such as Koggala, Kaththaluwa and Ahangama. .
But don't be fooled... alot of the time now, these stilt fishermen are just posing for you to get a great photo, so remember to carry some cash 🤑
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  • D O S A I
Okay yes, they aren't Sri Lankan... But... You can get Dosai in Sri Lanka and I LOVE IT!
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Dosai comes from Southern India. It's a pancake made out of rice and lentil batter, naturally fermented overnight.
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This is traditionally a vegetarian dish, but all meat lovers will love it... I guarantee 😍
My favourite is Ghee Dosai 👌
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  • Ever wanted to stay on your own private island... even just for one night? 
Well yes you can, in Weligama, Sri Lanka. We did so a couple of nights ago & it was great!!
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You can catch a boat to the island, which is great for luggage but you can also walk/swim across! It's not deep water & it adds to the adventure.
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Such a cool little experience we had ❤
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  • Should you get a driver when traveling Sri Lanka? 🚗
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I say YES!!! If you are doing a lot of traveling. For example visiting Sigiriya, Kandy, Beach, Ella, Colombo. Then I definitely say yes!
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The reason being... the drivers are so helpful, patient and have the best insights of what to see & where to eat plus you can travel at your own pace. Yes, it is more expensive but I think worth it.
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If you need a driver or just interested in getting a price, send me an email & I'll get it sorted. I work with the BEST company who also drives my family around.
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